Don't be ‘that’ person: Library etiquette for the upcoming exam season

Once focus is disturbed, it’s really hard to get it back. Patrick Gillin

There is nothing more annoying than hunting for a study space in the last three weeks of classes. All of a sudden, students start bringing blankets and pillows to the library and marking their territory in their respective spaces.

But what do you do once you reach the deafening silence of the library? Whether you’re in Woodward, Koerner or IKB, there are certain unwritten rules of UBC libraries that must be followed by all who should be lucky enough to find a goddamn seat.

Personal space

The first thing you should be weary of is taking up too much space. Personal space isn’t really an option in a library that’s supposed to cater to hundreds of students at a time. It’s not necessary for one person to take up an entire table by themselves, so shuffling some of your stuff around can give someone else a chance to study. Make someone’s day and put the excess books away!

Quiet spaces are there for a reason

If you go into a quiet study with a friend, study. Plain and simple. If you talk in a quiet study, just know that everyone in the room hates you.

If you’re actually studying while you’re talking, then you’re in luck! Most libraries have a designated area where you can talk to your other study group members without disturbing everyone else.

Similarly, if you sit in a study area full of groups and expect it to be silent, you may want to find another place to pour over your books. But we all learned how to use our “inside voices” in elementary school — libraries are where this truly becomes useful.

Silence your voice, but also your phone

Another great way of being polite in libraries — in addition to allowing yourself to get some work done — is by turning your phone on silent.

Imagine how irritated you would be if you finally found a way to phrase that idea you’ve been thinking of for your term paper and then *BING BONG* an obnoxious ringtone smashes your ear canal and you are left wondering what your name is.

Also, turning your phone on silent does not mean vibrate. “But my vibrate is quiet,” you say, and maybe it is, but not in an area where you can hear breathing.

Snack smart

Some of us opt for the snack option to quench the bore that is studying. But keep in mind to keep the foods as noise-proof as possible. If you have to tear open that granola bar wrapper, do it quickly — we’d all prefer one loud noise over five minutes of you failing to be quiet.

Use your headphones wisely

Recently, while in a quiet study area, this really splendid guy got up to get food and left his headphones on full blast, so the rest of us debated on what should be done.

Should we go up to this guy’s property and turn off the music ourselves? Should we throw his headphones in the nearest Dumpster so some raccoons can get lit?

Not that I don’t love concerts, but when you’re trying to form a coherent thought and all you can hear is Metallica (like really, you’re studying to Metallica?) you can’t help but feel extremely frustrated.

Fun fact: turning your music down is a great way of being respectful and also prolongs your need for hearing aids!

Once focus is disturbed, it’s really hard to get it back. So, exam season, because it’s a huge source of stress for everyone, should be a time to show consideration for your fellow students — especially when it comes to studying at the library.